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Old 03-02-2005, 05:27   #1 (permalink)
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EU:Land Rover expects sales to rise 15% in 2005

Land Rover expects sales to rise 15% in 2005

Reuters

GENEVA - Ford Motor Co.'s luxury brand Land Rover expects to boost unit sales around 15 percent this year and turn a profit, while its Jaguar brand sees flat sales and a loss, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We are looking for 15 percent more (Land Rover global sales) this year," the head of the two brands, Joe Greenwell, said at the Geneva car show.

Land Rover had global sales of around 162,000 units last year and is poised for a wave of growth led by new products, he said, adding the challenge was getting the brand's quality levels up to the higher standard that Jaguar enjoys.

"I don't expect any growth in Jaguar this year," he added, reiterating that Jaguar was not expected to break even until 2007.

Jaguar had global sales of 118,000 units last year, when it deliberately reduced inventory and scaled back production capacity to bring output more in line with demand.

Jaguar has said it planned to end assembly operations at a plant in Britain and cutting 1,150 workers, or 15 percent, of the money-losing division's workforce.

Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG) includes Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover.

The group reported a 2004 pretax loss of $740 million, a decline from a pretax profit of $171 million in 2003. The decline primarily reflected unfavourable currency exchange and lower volumes at Jaguar, offset partially by improved pricing.

Ford has projected that PAG will have a 2005 pretax profit of $300 million to $600 million.
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